Simplify Your Start-Up Hiring With These 3 Steps

Ben Martinez Ben Martinez, Candidate Pool

Too often, I work with founders and executives who are desperate to find good people. They either spend too much time on recruiting, which takes them away from their core work (i.e., building or selling a product, raising money, etc.) or they spend too little time on recruiting and have few good people in the pipeline.

Whether you are growing a company with new positions or recruiting backfill positions – jobs need to get posted and people need to be interviewed. That’s just how it is. Recruiting people to do a good job is ongoing but yet somehow companies are never really prepared for it.

No matter your position on recruiting – whether you’re a fast-growing start-up or leading a department in a big company – here are 3 things to focus on to make sure your hiring stays in a good spot. You can do these on your own or call in a specialist, depending on how much time you can commit to each of them. 

First – have some metrics.

Find out how many viable candidates you and your team speak with each week and for which positions. You need to make sure you are talking to talented people often and you want to get a good handle on how many you are speaking with. 

Research from a recent white paper (Lever) said it takes a small business about 86 new candidates, 15 screens (phone or video), 4.7 onsite interviews, and 1.5 offers, on average to fill a job. 

How many people are on your calendar this week? A lot, a little, the right amount? Track this and then find out if you have enough time to do what it takes to keep talented people engaged and hired.

Second – Always be selling. 

Many founders and executives are biased and think everyone knows about their company and in extreme examples, they think everyone wants to work at their companies. Evaluation is a 2-way street and candidates reject about 1 in 3 offers, so make every interaction count. Don’t miss interviews, phone screens or send bad vibes. Treat your candidates like a paying customer. 

Third – Do some reference checks.

These sometimes have a bad taste with hiring managers because they believe everyone will give a good reference, but sometimes they can prevent a bad hire. This just happened the other day. I dodged a bad hire when 2 of the 3 references said the candidate gets stressed under pressure and loses his temper. The last thing I wanted was someone losing their cool all the time. We passed.

Recruiting and hiring people will always be needed. Do the work, be prepared for surprises but find the balance on what you can do and when you should call in a specialist.